Delegation from Minnesota Inspects Conditions

Later that day, they started shuffling Freedom Riders around. It turned out that they moved all of the persons from Minnesota to the near end of the cell block, cells 2, 3 and 4. I was in 5. The reason for the change in tone now became apparent.  A delegation sent by the governor of Minnesota had arrived to investigate conditions in the prison. They were brought in, and two guards prevented them from going past cell 4. From what I heard, I felt that the Minnesotans were minimizing the seriousness of the mistreatment we had received, for instance failing to mention the DDT spraying incident. I called over to one member of the delegation, suggesting that he tour the rest of the cell block and talk with the rest of the Freedom Riders. The guard said that was not allowed, and they had to limit their conversation with Minnesotans. I called to the delegation that I was sure that some of the other Freedom Riders would have information they should hear. The delegate said that he would have to report that the prison officials were uncooperative if they did not allow the delegation to interview all of the Freedom Riders about the conditions and the treatment of the Freedom Riders.

The Minnesota delegation was finally permitted to interview all of the Freedom Riders.  Some improvements in treatment resulted. Besides getting the screens back on the windows and the bedding as promised, we began to get some mail. However, it was severely censored.  I got one letter which it started Dear David, then the entire body of the letter was cut out leaving a large hole, with the closing good-bye remaining.

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